Lynette Holloway of The Root is reporting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed a measure this week that criminalizes female genital mutilation in one of his last official acts before yielding the country’s top office to Muhammadu Buhari. Holloway reports:
“This 2013 version of the bill sets out a maximum punishment of four years in prison and a 200,000 naira ($1,000) fine for carrying out FGM, BuzzFeed reports. Some 19.9 million Nigerian women living today are thought to have undergone the practice, and human rights advocates hope the decision will spur about 26 other African countries to outlaw the procedure, the report says.
Nigeria’s groundbreaking legislation sends ‘a powerful signal not only within Nigeria but across Africa,’ according to J. Peter Pham, the director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council. Pham said the measure effectively criminalizes a significant percentage of female mutilations on the African continent. ‘One cannot overestimate the impact of any decision by Nigeria [on the continent],’ he told the online news outlet.”
More than 125 million girls and women alive today around the world are believed to have undergone some form of genital mutilation, with the majority concentrated in 29 countries, all but two in Africa, according to a 2013 study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).
Read more at The Root.